Fisherman’s Metal

The underwater world is different from the dry world above.  I invade the submerged realm often to make my living.  I lay out nets made of thick and twisted rope.  The water saturates the cords, and tries to loosen my knots.  I use sharpened metal in the form of fish hooks and spears.   I harvest fish from the deep waters.  I turn the writhing mass into metal when I claim my wages.  I am a master of the waters and my trade.

If a fish crosses the barrier from its world to mine, it dies.  The hot air dries its scales.  Its mouth gulps in empty motions.  The heavy, wet life giving liquid is taken away.  If a man falls into the vastness of water, life is taken quickly.  Lungs fill with water, arms, and legs kick and twist.  Soon, he turns from a trashing invader, to squishy food.  Most try and hold fast to the side they belong on, because, to cross the threshold is death.

The most important piece of metal I carry is my sword.  Upon the sandy shores, and rocky merchant passes, the lazy scavengers plot to steal my prize.  When the fish feel my metal piercing their scales they know the end is near.  Thieves and Robbers share the same look of fear and defeat when my sword finds their soft warm skin.  Blood has a profound way of changing minds.   To steal my prize, my living, and my pride, it will cost you.   I have found that most cowards, do not wish to pay.

One day I found myself torn.  I was persuaded to leave my wooden boat, my twisted nets, and my metal tools of the fishing trade behind.   Deep inside of me I felt I may have found the greatest catch of all in this new chapter of my life.  My new companion seemed to think differently of people.  I saw of few familiar faces of those thieves who had crossed my path and failed.   They looked upon me with fear, and upon my new companion with hope.

I became mesmerized with his knowledge and power that I never wished to part ways.  His company was the biggest catch of my life.  It seems, that in time my metal would rust, it seemed out of place now.  As fate is often cruel, a hand full of soft metal stole my cherished company.  Silver, metal to soft for work, but just cold enough for betrayal.  I tried to attack the thieves, but my companion stopped me.  He allowed himself to be taken.  I could have stopped them, yet I found myself lost and angry.  My catch, my work, and my hope was taken.  I followed the mob, the night air too weak to cool my anger.

I watched them take him to a fortification for questioning.  I stood at a distance, angry, and confused.  I needed  to think.  It seemed that the metal that I have depended on to stay alive would sit idle during my companions death.   I was deep in thought by a fire, three people said they knew me.  They said I knew him.  I was scared and angry.  I denied it.  I used all I had left to fend them off, my anger.  During my last outburst my companion’s eyes found mine.  In that moment, my heart was broken so  I ran away crying.

My friend, my teacher, my hope, was killed shortly thereafter.  They used rope and metal to tear his warm skin.  In the same way I would mount fish to a board to gut them. They used heavy metal to hold him in place on twisted splintery wood.  Instead of gutting him, they hung him high in the hot air.  They let him die slow.  It reminded me of a fish gulping empty air on the coarse wooden planks of my boat.  That moment a fish surrenders its life, so that a person will be able to eat it. A life for a life.  A price paid in full by deaths bloody grasp.


Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

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